Placebo and criminal law

Science and Engineering Ethics 10 (1):65-72 (2004)
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This article considers issues concerning cases where the use of placebo is lawful or is not lawful under aspects of German criminal law. It will differentiate between cases of individual therapy and cases of supervised experiments within the scope of medical tests. Thereby, it reveals that a medication of placebo with regard to an individual patient seems to be lawful if there is no alternative possibility of a better treatment using a chemically effective medicine and if the limits of presumed consent are complied with. On the other hand, in the context of the supervised experiment, the assignment of a patient to a group treated with placebo is only lawful if the patient has been fully informed about the possibilities of a treatment and if the patient has given consent to it.



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